Limiting Beliefs: The One Thing Holding Your Career Back
Have you ever felt something was holding you back in your career, but you couldn’t determine the cause?
In most cases, limiting beliefs are the reason you’re stuck. The assumptions, perceptions and ideas you hold that stop you from taking action and keep you playing small.
Like thinking, “Someone like me could never be a CEO” so you don’t even try. Or “I can’t talk to my boss about getting a promotion until I finish this big project” so you put it off for another 6 months, by which time decisions have already been made.
Your limiting beliefs will hold you back and keep you from fulfilling your potential, which leads to disappointment and regret.
In my case, limiting beliefs drove me to the brink of burnout earlier in my career. The silver lining was I learned (the hard way) how to reframe my thoughts and find a new way of operating for a healthy career and life.
Limiting beliefs are incredibly powerful (and hard to detect)
The beliefs holding you back aren’t always easy to spot because they’ve become part of your normal way of thinking and behaving. They guide all your actions and decisions like an invisible hand you may not even be aware of.
As infants, the world is ours to explore and we don’t know about boundaries. With every year that goes by, we learn about our limits and societal norms, many of which are helpful and keep us safe, but some of which keep us from performing at our best.
We become like the baby elephant who is kept in place by a rope tied to a stake in the ground. We don’t realize that we can easily break free now that we’re fully grown. Our beliefs are the only thing keeping us tied down.
In what ways are you still thinking you’re that baby elephant?
The first step to letting go of limiting beliefs is to identify them
You’re likely to find your limiting beliefs in the negative areas of your life – the areas where you feel held back or where you’re bumping up against a restriction.
Where do you feel stuck? Where in your life do you experience the most stress or frustration? When do you find yourself kicking yourself over and over again? What worries keep coming back to you?
Then look for the underlying beliefs or assumptions that are keeping you from taking action.
Once you shine a light on them, it’s easier to change your limiting beliefs or let go of them altogether.
Life gets better when you drop your limiting beliefs
It’s like taking off shoes that are too tight. It feels liberating to release yourself from the beliefs that are holding you back. And your career prospects and sense of well-being are both likely to improve, perhaps even dramatically.
Sometimes it takes a jolt to get us to drop our limiting beliefs. But it’s totally worth it. The first step is to identify the beliefs that are limiting you in your career and life. Then you can choose one and start to do something about it.
Change is hard and growth takes time. As a friend of mine said, “You can’t tell an oak tree to grow faster.” So begin, but be patient with yourself.
What limiting beliefs are you holding onto?
And what will your career and life look and feel like when you let go? What will it take for you to be ready to let go so you can flourish?
Leave a comment and let me know.
The Path to the C-Suite: Achieving Career Success on Your Own Terms
In this exclusive Career Mastery Talk, Shellye Archambeau shares her proven method for getting everything you want out of your life and job – and the pitfalls that can keep you from achieving your goals.
Her blueprint emphasizes owning your choices, finding your power, and taking charge of your own career.
- How to work with, rather than against, the current of power in your organization
- The best way to find and keep mentors (and how to ask them for advice)
- Four ways to tackle self-doubt and imposter syndrome
- The key questions to help you determine when to take risks
- How to plan and progress, even if you don’t know exactly what you want to do